The rare craft of enamelingBASELWORLD 2013: The Classico Serpent
Void of any modern technology and executed only by master craftsmen, enameling is a refined, centuries-old technique brought forth by few and prized by many. With a 25-year legacy of producing enamel-dial timepieces with the famed Donzé Cadrans, and deeply valuing the discipline, Ulysse Nardin acquired the manufacturer in 2012.
Then and now, scenes of a lively, realistic nature are enacted on the dials, brought to fruition by the most talented artisans in high horology.
The new Classico Serpent proves to be no different. The serpent, or snake, the sixth creature in the12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, represents 2013 on the Chinese calendar. Important in Chinese mythology, legend and more, the reptile has come to symbolize incredible beings, including deities. Ulysse Nardin showcases the snake’s unquestionable mystique and sharp beauty in lifelike detail through the lost art of enameling.
Using the champlevé method, cells are carved with a chisel directly on the dial and filled with enamel; a variety of colors are created from different metallic oxides. The piece is then fired until the enamel melts and is polished when the surface cools. The result is a serpent stealthily rising from a bed of leaves that grows from its earthly branch. In a concentrated stance, it readies itself to strike. Its mouth agape, fangs show. Its tail steadies its body. Jewel tones of blue and green pulsate on its skin. Encased in 18-karat rose gold, the watch boasts a self-winding movement with a COSC-certified chronometer and 42-hour power reserve, among other notable features. Mesmerizing, it attacks, but succumbs, to its wearer.
A limited edition of 88 pieces, the Classico Serpent reveals, yet again, Ulysse Nardin’s leading position in the highly specialized and rare craft of enameling – as well as its place as one of the most independent watch manufactures of our time. With its in-house experts, it is the industry powerhouse in this fine art, exhibiting dramatic creativity and precision through timepieces that inspire and enthrall.